Eminent Domain Essay

Submitted By michelleee12
Words: 648
Pages: 3

Every time that my grandparents visit, I have to vacate my bedroom so that they can have a room of their own during their visit. It's always a painful few days because I'm locked out of the room that I've decorated, the room that holds all of my things; it's the room that's "mine." As my mother always says, "It's for the good of the family." But, no matter how much I feel deprived, I always know that I'll have it back in a few days. However, the results would be different if she applied the principal of "eminent domain." I would lose my room permanently, and it would be turned into a real guest room. I would not be a happy family member.

Because of this experience, I can empathize with the home owners affected by the recent 5:4 Supreme Court decision Kelo v. New London that cited a section of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states, "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" (Source A). The Court ruled that New London, Connecticut, was within its constitutional rights to take private property and give it to another private individual in order to further the economic development of the city (Source C).

Contrary to what the Court sees as "permissible public use" (Source C), I believe that a government taking a person's home or business away and allowing another private individual or company to take it over goes against the idea of our private property rights. A good example of this is the situation in Lakewood, Ohio, where the mayor wants to condemn a retired couple's home in order to make way for a privately owned, high-end condominium and shopping mall. As Jim Saleet said in his interview with 60 Minutes, "The bottom line is this is morally wrong … This is our home … We're not blighted. This is a close-knit, beautiful neighborhood" (Source B). The Saleets who have paid off their mortgage should be allowed to remain there as long as they want and pass it on to their children. Here, individual rights should prevail.

However, I must also take into consideration the need for cities and states to improve troubled urban areas and clear blighted sections with new construction, tax revenues, and jobs (Source E). If governments are blocked from arranging for needed improvements and income, decline of cities and other areas could result. For example, the mayor of Lakewood, Ohio, Madeleine Cain, claims that the city cannot make it without more tax